Photography is a great hobby, and part of the fun is sharing your beautiful images with others. Stock photography provides a convenient way for shutterbugs to share their images with the world while making some money as well. Some stock photographers may make only a few dollars a month, while others enjoy a full time living snapping photos and selling the rights to use them. No matter what your ultimate goal, stock photography can be a fun, rewarding and potentially very lucrative hobby.
Of course it is important to understand the world of stock photography before diving in. There are some factors that makes a photo a good candidate for a stock photography portfolio, and many stock photo sites are quite selective about what type of photographs they will accept.
Some tips for making your move into the world of stock photography a successful and lucrative one include:
- Make sure the photos you submit are of the highest technical quality. Shoot in the highest resolution and do what you can to reduce any noise or distortion. Many stock photo providers require new photographers to submit several photographs before getting started. Put your best foot forward and submit only your best work.
- Do some research before signing up for a stock photo site. Take a look at some of your favorite newspapers, magazines, websites and advertising copy. Pay careful attention to the types of images that are featured. Chances are these are the types of subjects buyers will be looking for.
- Pay careful attention to the lighting when shooting your photos. Experiment with different lighting setups, and take outdoor photos at different times of the day. Look at the finished results carefully and submit only the best shots.
- Colorful images tend to sell well on most stock photo sites. Look at the world around you and try to bring out the beautiful colors you see.
- Read the rules of the site carefully to avoid any common mistakes. Most stock photo sites will include a FAQ section and/or a tutorial. Take advantage of these resources to shorten your learning curve.
- Pay careful attention to the composition of the images. Look for subjects with an interesting contrast and compelling visual elements. Experiment by taking photographs of everyday objects from unusual angles and fresh perspectives.
- Use the manual settings on your digital SLR to create compelling and memorable images. Be sure that the settings for ISO, speed settings, aperture and white balance are correct before shooting. Review the photographs in the viewfinder and make any necessary corrections before taking the next shot.
- Use the software included with your camera to mark your best shots as you go. After a long day of shooting it can be difficult to remember the best shots. Taking a few seconds up front to mark the best shots can save you hours later on.
- Consider shooting in RAW format instead of JPG or other compressed formats. The low cost of storage makes it possible to shoot lots of high resolution photographs in RAW format without running out of space. Buy a large capacity memory card and experiment with the RAW format. RAW provides a greater level of control over elements like white balance, tint, contrast and saturation.
- Use Photoshop and other photo editing software judiciously. Some sites have rules about altered images so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully and always save an unedited copy of your best shots.
- Use meaningful keywords for your stock photos. Even though they are looking for images, customers will be searching for those images using words. Be sure that the keywords you use describe your shots well. Do some research on the site and look at the types of images that have been selling, then use that research to find the optimal keywords for your own shots.